Warm and Smart CIC have developed a software that links a community and 3d Max radiator controller so that members of the community can lean on each to control and manage their heating. The Warmer Homes Project by the NEA identified two equal issues in fuel poverty:
1) Actual Poverty
2) Usage of the heating controls
Warm and Smart CIC aims to solve both problems with a low capital cost system.
A house or building is fitted with controls on each radiator, wall thermostats (if desired) and special window/ door contacts. A 3D Max control cube and a raspberry pi with some warm and smart software is also connected and installed. The Pi links the system to a web application and users can log in to the web application to control their heating OR they can ring up Warm and Smart CIC to talk to a human being who will set the schedules and zoning on their heating.
Objectives and beneficiaries
The objectives are:
1) to zone the house or building together with more accurate controls on their heating
2) to relay data from the house such as temperature of each room to the web application for later examination by an energy management expert
3) processing of the data to identify poorly performing heating or poorly insulated homes
4) if the user is adverse or unknowledgable about how to control their heating then Warm and Smart CIC can step in and do all of this remotely
Strong points of the practice
When we installed the system at the SBIC (Sunderland Bangladesh International Centre) our savings were far higher than expected because the system detected problems in seven out of thirteen radiators which when fixed enormously improved comfort, improved the actual efficiency a further amount, and removed the need for electric fan heaters in the premises.
The capital costs of the system are very low. For example the savings out perform a 3KW solar panel system but cost a tenth (including installation) of such a system.
Whilst the system is possibly more labour intensive than a Solar PV system, this will provide opportunities for jobs in areas of fuel poverty which usually suffer from poor employment rates.The system in the result of internet failure still operates well and can easily be adjusted locally and on demand.
I am currently adding a module which deals with bookings for building such as Mind in Sunderland which has a lot of rooms which are used for counselling, but which are not occupied most of the time. This system allows those rooms to automatically switch off when not occupied. This is also a nice feature for Bed and Breakfasts.
Expected results and benefits for climate change adaptation and mitigation
The 3D Max system by itself is touted by the manufacturer to save 20 -30 per cent. We build on this with the software and web application by the data examination retrieval, spotting poorly/failed performing heating systems and the use of experts in the control and setup of schedules and zoning to make further savings (at the SBIC these were more than the touted savings by the hardware manufacturer which was something we did not expect)
Replicability potential of the practice
This requires some training in installation / maintenence. However the difficult bit which is hosting and using the software can be done remotely by Warm and Smart CIC. So I would say the replicability is good to excellent. And one day I would hope to provide the web service free but with some advertising. So users would only need the installation.
[Editor's Note: All information published as submitted by the author(s). Minor edits may have been made to increase readability and understanding.]